World War II
During the September 1939 German invasion of Poland, German engineers encountered entanglements atthe bridges over the Wisloka River near Jaslo in Galicia.When they attempted to remove the barricade, explosionssprayed liquid from several cans. Fourteen menimmediately succumbed to poisoning, and several died inthe days following the incident. Except for the casualties,the experience went almost unnoticed. It was laterdiscovered that the cans were Polish chemical defensedevices filled with a standard mixture containing a fairproportion of mustard gas. Lieutenant General HermanOchsner, the German Chief of Chemical, discerned theaction as a desperate attempt by local forces to disruptthe German advance.
The Cold War
The 1950 Stevenson Report, which evaluated the useof CBR, noted that the silent and persistent nature of radiological warfare meant that people would have toreasonably wonder if they were subjected to hiddenradiological hazards anytime an enemy plane passed overan area. It would therefore be prudent that such areaswould have to be surveyed before use. It was alsorecognized that radiological warfare as a form of harassment was more likely than incidents resulting inmass casualties.
At the time, similar sentiments wereexpressed regarding biological warfare
would thepsychological impact outweigh the casualty effect?
Disruption and Harassment
As is the role of the gambit in a game of chess, theCBR gambit is an attempt to prompt a foe to expend hisresources when not needed, thus creating disruption anddegraded performance throughout the enemy force. Theuser of the CBR gambit exploits the fear, doubt, anduncertainty of his opponent by provoking a protectiveresponse. After World War I, it was estimated that themere act of having to don a protective mask reduced asoldier’s fighting capability by as much as 25 percent. Insome field conditions, having to assume mission-orientedprotective posture 4 (MOPP4) can reduce a soldier’scapability without actual exposure to CBR.
Relation to Deception
The CBR gambit has similarities to the various typesof Soviet deception. Soviet deception tactics, known as
, are a collection of improvisational techniques,such as soldiers carrying flashlights to look like truck movement or placing camp stoves under metal plates tolook like tank infrared signatures. In reality, thesetechniques exploit an enemy’s intelligence cycle, creatinguncertainty during the time lag between the detection,interpretation, and reaction stages.
Maskirovka requiresstrategic, operational, and tactical synergy to be believableand influence enemy decision making. Likewise, the CBRgambit falls apart when it lacks strategic, operational, andtactical continuity.Like maskirovka, the successful use of the CBRgambit depends on a force’s knowledge of the enemy’sdetection assets and response doctrine. Through WorldWar II, the leading agent detection method was a soldier’ssense of smell, so a simulant for a CBR gambit neededonly to smell like the real thing (see
). Today, agambit with a simulant of a V agent is only useful if it canbe detected by enzyme tickets, ion mobilization, orelectrochemical reaction.
Figure 1. Through World War II, soldiers relied ontheir sense of smell to detect agents.